This past Sunday was my first ever experience at Saratoga Racetrack and it was one to remember. Winning my first race was a highlight however, it was all downhill from there..
Not being a local resident in the Saratoga area this was my first time at Saratoga Racetrack. It was very easy to access and I found a neat free parking area right near the track. Coming from England I was pleased with the atmosphere surrounding the track and the buzz from everyone involved.
Time to start the day; first race 1:00 PM.
“$5 Each Way please,” I said.
“$15 total for 1,2,3,” said the Cashier.
I was not expecting this, as I always believed that ‘Each Way’ meant places 1-4 and you only doubled your stake. This was different to what I was used to, so I had to adapt to different betting styles.
Top Newbie Tip #1: Learn the basics of betting before you go.
Race 1: Horse: Thank You. This was the horse I chose for the first race and thankfully he came in 2nd; $27.75 return. I was thinking to myself this is a good start to the day, must be beginners’ luck. Bet $15, Return $27.75. Total winnings so far: +$12.75
Race 2: Horse: Tizmos. I was starting to get to grips with the scheme of betting, so after my first winner I thought I would bet again, this time on the favorite, Tizmos. $5 1st & 2nd. He wins. $30 to me. Bet $10, Return $31. Total winnings so far, +$33.75
Race 3: Horses: Scampering & Premium. With confidence flowing and my wallet bulging I decided to bet on two horses in an attempt to win 1st and 2nd. Rookie mistake. Premium was far from premium and came absolutely nowhere although Scampering came through for first place. Bet $12, $13.35 return. Total winnings so far, +$35.05
Top Newbie Tip #2: Once you win three races, do not think you know everything about betting. Stick to your roots of being a beginner.
$34 dollars in the green it was time to stop for lunch. The variety of the food stalls was amazing, ranging from hot dogs to lobster sandwiches. I thought I would splash the cash and buy some lunch however if you are spending the day there; my recommendation would be a cooler of food and drink. But, no glass.
Top Newbie Tip #3: Bring a cooler for lunch and beverages if you want to save a little cash for betting. Just remember, no glass.
Back to Race 5 and the same story began to unfold.
Race 5: Horse: Go Blue or Go Home. Blue being my favorite color I thought why not, and I needed to recuperate my money I just spent on lunch. $5 each way on 1st, 2nd or 3rd, $15 total bet. I really should have listened to the tannoy service at the track as they were reporting that the horse was running with a couple problems. As one could imagine, I did not listen and spent $15 anyways and…. it lost. Bet $15, Return $0. Total winnings so far, incl lunch, -$0.95
Top Newbie Tip #4: Always think positively that your horse will win. Negativity tends to result in a negative outcome.
Top Newbie Tip #5: Listen to the people who know what they are talking about.
Race 6: Horses: Odeon and Lay It Down. This was my big chance to recover some winnings which I was in desperate need of. Let’s be honest, I was not going to win was I? (Top Newbie Tip #4 already out the window) I settled for a second and a sixth place. Luck was not on my side after lunch. Bet $8, return $4.40. Total winnings so far: -$4.55
Top Newbie Tip #6: Once you start losing, contemplate whether it is worth carrying on betting or to call it a day.
Race 7: Horse: T Sizzle. A big race for me, $10 came out of my wallet and I bet win or place. This was the last chance saloon for me, all or bust. Out of nowhere, T Sizzle came flying out of the traps and down the home straight in 5th position. Not ideal by any stretch of the imagination but out of nowhere he took the outside and powered through to finish second. The horse was so close to winning but he left himself with to much to do. Bet $10, Return $15. Total winnings so far: +$0.55
After this last race I decided to call it a day at the races. Sun burnt, but profitable. My biggest mistake of the day is that I forgot to collect my free red hat from Saratoga giveaways.
Top Newbie Tip #7: If the temperature is 92 degrees outside, leave the blazer and tie at home!
Top Newbie Tip #8: Do not bet money that you do not have.
Top Newbie Tip #9: Once you lose be very careful to not go out of your way to win your money back. The chances are you with lose further. But in my case, I WON!
All in all, The Saratoga Racetrack is a fantastic venue and when given the chance, GO! It was a great experience for me. I had been to two previous racetracks on the South Coast of England: Fontwell and Goodwood and neither were as thrilling or exciting as Saratoga.